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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesNew York

John JAY

(1745-1829)

JAY, John, a Delegate from New York; born in New York City December 12, 1745; attended a boarding school in New Rochelle, N.Y., and was graduated from King’s College (now Columbia University) in 1764; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1768; served on the New York committee of correspondence; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776 and 1778-1779; recalled some months in 1777 to aid in forming the New York State constitution; appointed chief justice of the State of New York in May 1777 but resigned December 1778 to become President of the Continental Congress and served in that capacity from December 10, 1778, to September 28, 1779; appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain September 27, 1779; appointed one of the ministers to negotiate peace with Great Britain June 14, 1781, and signed the Treaty of Paris; appointed one of the ministers to negotiate treaties with the European powers May 1, 1783; returned to New York in 1784; appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs July 1784, which position he held until the establishment of the Federal Government in 1789; appointed the first Chief Justice of the United States by President Washington September 26, 1789, and served until June 29, 1795, when he resigned; unsuccessful Federal candidate for Governor of New York in 1792; appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain April 19, 1794, and served until April 8, 1795, still retaining his position as Chief Justice of the United States; Governor of New York 1795-1801; declined reelection and also a reappointment as Chief Justice of the United States; retired to his farm at Bedford, near New York City, where he died May 17, 1829; interment in the family burying ground at Rye, N.Y.

Bibliography

Johnston, Henry P., ed. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay. New York: B. Franklin, 1970; Stahr, Walter. John Jay: Founding Father. London: Hambledon Press, 2005.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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